Going back to uni to do PGDE at 43 years old

Hi All,

I've been working in retail as a senior manager for the last 20-odd years since graduating from Edinburgh Uni. Always wanted to do secondary teaching but never had the balls to quit my job and go for it. Now I've been made redundant I feel like I've been given this excellent opportunity, so I'm going to apply for next year's intake.

I have a 2:1 geography degree (split evenly between physical and human), so I'm going to apply to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde to do my PGDE.

I have experience as a Scout Leader, but not for the last 15 years or so (basically my work schedule made any volunteering almost impossible). I also spent 2 weeks at my old high school when I was 21 and thinking of going into teaching then - decided I was too young and didn't have enough life experience at that stage, but always said I would aim to come back to it in later life. The current Covid situation I presume makes doing school visits or anything like that out of the question, although I'm still going to ask around local schools.

I had a brief look at the current National 5 cirriculum, it's clear I have a lot of brushing up to do as my geography knowledge is 20 years old now! But at least I have the next year to do that in preparation.

Any other mature students / returners on here that could give any hints or tips? Any advice would be much appreciated.


Comments

  • billy2shots
    billy2shots Posts: 1,122
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    edited 28 September 2020 at 6:01PM
    I can't give any advice but you are not alone. I'm almost 39 and in the next 3 years I can see myself selling the family business (I helped start it 20 years ago) and going to Uni for the first time. My choice would probably need to be in my field of experience as in Nursing Mental Health/Learning Disabilities. 

    It does feel slightly intimating going back into education after what will be 25 years away. Not to mention the potential age gap between myself and the others on the course. 
  • I can't give any advice but you are not alone. I'm almost 39 and in the next 3 years I can see myself selling the family business (I helped start it 20 years ago) and going to Uni for the first time. My choice would probably need to be in my field of experience as in Nursing Mental Health/Learning Disabilities. 

    It does feel slightly intimating going back into education after what will be 25 years away. 
    You're
     right, it is intimidating - something I used to take for granted (going to Uni) now makes me nervous!
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,781
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    Just be grateful that geography hasn't changed much over time. Imagine a computer science degree from before the internet was invented!
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • Voyager2002
    Voyager2002 Posts: 15,226
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    This is an organisation for people in your position:
    https://nowteach.org.uk/

    There is also a government website called Get into Teaching, which gives full details of funding, regulations and so forth.

  • Hi

    I'll be 52 this week, and am in a pretty similar situation to yourself, except that I made a speculative application in July this year, got through the interview, passed the tests, was accepted, and have deferred my place until 2021.  I actually had a discussion after interview about my age and it didn't go against me at all, as most teachers only stay in the profession for 10 years.  The only thing they were concerned about was how I would cope / what my attitude would be when placed in a position that would mean my mentor was younger.  I was basically like 'I respect experience, and just because I have a certain set of life experiences, that doesn't mean I'll know more than my mentor, who has the teaching experience I'm actually after learning from' ... But I did go to uni as a mature student (43) and I was used to 'hanging out with the kids'.  To be honest, I didn't really notice their age after a bit, as we were studying the same stuff (history) and so our discussions were based around the subject rather than being purely social.  From time to time I'd go for a night out with them.  They're just people, even if they were all younger than my own children.  I'm still in touch with a couple of them.  Also, you're only on campus for a few days / weeks, the rest of the time you're out there, doing it, so your contact will mainly be with teachers.

    In terms of the application and relevant experience (I'm an admin manager), I thought about all the situations where I've trained / taught people to do things, what barriers they might have encountered and what I did to help overcome those to ensure a successful outcome.  It's all about management, and whether that's staff management or student / pupil management, it's kind of the same thing.  How do you engage people, how do you motivate people, how do you identify when things aren't going well, what do you do to get it all back on track again, how do you set goals, monitor, evaluate, etc, etc.  I was able to pull in some experience of working with young people, as I'd had contact with probation services (in a professional capacity), and I made the most of that in my application, to talk about being responsive and agile and wanting to encourage, create a 'can do' attitude, etc.  Pretty sure I just showed that I had a decent level of awareness and I was committed to making the classroom a site for vibrant and positive learning.  In other words, what skills do you have that you've been using for years, and why would you be a good teacher?

    Amazingly, subject knowledge isn't so much of a thing.  Can you demonstrate that you've kept your toe in the water?  I could say 'I have a lifelong love of history' and wiffle on about going to see Mary Beard talk and how often I visit museums.  Some sort of indication that it's a passion could be helpful, but I don't know, maybe that was just me, however, I should imagine, if you're going to be aiming to set young hearts a beating, then you have to be pretty enthusiastic yourself.  I have a massive book to read before I start next year, covering history from the medieval period, which I've never studied.  You don't have to know everything.

    Finally, applications for teacher training are a bit weird.  They don't wait until they've got them all in and then pick the best, instead they go in blocks and the courses fill up.  In other words, as a candidate you could be head and shoulders above the rest, but if you put in a late application the places might all be gone.  I just went through UCAS (England), found the places nearest to me offering the courses I wanted and applied.  I'm leaving a relatively well paid job to do this, because I've probably only got 15 years left me in, max, and I realised I actually wanted to do something that made a difference and gave me a fresh approach to life.  Some days I feel nervous.  Other days I feel really excited.  I just couldn't see myself sitting in an office for the rest of my days.
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783
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    silvercar said:
    Just be grateful that geography hasn't changed much over time. Imagine a computer science degree from before the internet was invented!
    Crikey!!! If you think geography hasn't changed much over time, you are living in a dream world. I really cannot believe that statement.  

    And as for a world before the internet was invented, any computer science graduate should be ashamed of themselves (looking at you here) if they don't know about this    https://!!!!!!/2GkZxra
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783
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    At 43 you are just a spring chicken.  I realised one of my lifetime ambitions when I went to study for an undergraduate degree at the age of 48. I had a fabulous time, met some great people, made some lifetime friends and was thrilled when I graduated with a 2.1 BA Hons.

    You've already done UG and are now onto PG and heading into a brand new career. Think yourself lucky, relax and enjoy. To be honest, I really don't think anyone can give you any tips, just be yourself and have a good time. Plus, you are not even old!!
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783
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    I can't give any advice but you are not alone. I'm almost 39 and in the next 3 years I can see myself selling the family business (I helped start it 20 years ago) and going to Uni for the first time. My choice would probably need to be in my field of experience as in Nursing Mental Health/Learning Disabilities. 

    It does feel slightly intimating going back into education after what will be 25 years away. Not to mention the potential age gap between myself and the others on the course. 
    You might be surprised at the ages of others on the course, not everyone who chooses your subject (great choice, btw) is straight from school. You are only 38!  Even younger than the OP. (No offence to either.) I went into Higher Education after 32 years away, when I was 10 years older than you are now, and came out with a 2.1 BA Hons degree. 

    Everyone I met at uni - most of them fresh from A levels but some mature like me - was accepting and we formed study groups where I never felt out of place. With you being only 38 and considering entering a profession that's suited to all ages and backgrounds, I'm sure you'll be absolutely fine. 

    It's daunting, I won't deny it but it's so well worth it. 
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • CLee said:
    Hi

    I'll be 52 this week, and am in a pretty similar situation to yourself, except that I made a speculative application in July this year, got through the interview, passed the tests, was accepted, and have deferred my place until 2021.  I actually had a discussion after interview about my age and it didn't go against me at all, as most teachers only stay in the profession for 10 years.  The only thing they were concerned about was how I would cope / what my attitude would be when placed in a position that would mean my mentor was younger.  I was basically like 'I respect experience, and just because I have a certain set of life experiences, that doesn't mean I'll know more than my mentor, who has the teaching experience I'm actually after learning from' ... But I did go to uni as a mature student (43) and I was used to 'hanging out with the kids'.  To be honest, I didn't really notice their age after a bit, as we were studying the same stuff (history) and so our discussions were based around the subject rather than being purely social.  From time to time I'd go for a night out with them.  They're just people, even if they were all younger than my own children.  I'm still in touch with a couple of them.  Also, you're only on campus for a few days / weeks, the rest of the time you're out there, doing it, so your contact will mainly be with teachers.

    In terms of the application and relevant experience (I'm an admin manager), I thought about all the situations where I've trained / taught people to do things, what barriers they might have encountered and what I did to help overcome those to ensure a successful outcome.  It's all about management, and whether that's staff management or student / pupil management, it's kind of the same thing.  How do you engage people, how do you motivate people, how do you identify when things aren't going well, what do you do to get it all back on track again, how do you set goals, monitor, evaluate, etc, etc.  I was able to pull in some experience of working with young people, as I'd had contact with probation services (in a professional capacity), and I made the most of that in my application, to talk about being responsive and agile and wanting to encourage, create a 'can do' attitude, etc.  Pretty sure I just showed that I had a decent level of awareness and I was committed to making the classroom a site for vibrant and positive learning.  In other words, what skills do you have that you've been using for years, and why would you be a good teacher?

    Amazingly, subject knowledge isn't so much of a thing.  Can you demonstrate that you've kept your toe in the water?  I could say 'I have a lifelong love of history' and wiffle on about going to see Mary Beard talk and how often I visit museums.  Some sort of indication that it's a passion could be helpful, but I don't know, maybe that was just me, however, I should imagine, if you're going to be aiming to set young hearts a beating, then you have to be pretty enthusiastic yourself.  I have a massive book to read before I start next year, covering history from the medieval period, which I've never studied.  You don't have to know everything.

    Finally, applications for teacher training are a bit weird.  They don't wait until they've got them all in and then pick the best, instead they go in blocks and the courses fill up.  In other words, as a candidate you could be head and shoulders above the rest, but if you put in a late application the places might all be gone.  I just went through UCAS (England), found the places nearest to me offering the courses I wanted and applied.  I'm leaving a relatively well paid job to do this, because I've probably only got 15 years left me in, max, and I realised I actually wanted to do something that made a difference and gave me a fresh approach to life.  Some days I feel nervous.  Other days I feel really excited.  I just couldn't see myself sitting in an office for the rest of my days.
    Thanks for such a considered response, and apologies for the delay in responding.

    I have a lot of experience in leading and managing other people, plus a lot of time spent in L&D functions in the various businesses i've worked in over the last 20 years or so. I've been quite pro-active with any school leavers or young people - volunteered to mentor them, coach them on future career progression etc (even if that meant them leaving the business and going off to do something else if that's where their passion was).

    Struggling to get any classroom experience at the moment with the COVID situation - I've emailed a few of the local schools and not had any joy so far. I guess a lot of other people might be in the same boat though.

    I found out from Glasgow Uni yesterday that they only have 7 places for the 2020 intake for PGDE (Geography), so already it is starting to feel ultra-competitive!
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